Fund Highlight: Stephanie and Leonard Farber Fund

In 2014, Stephanie Farber became President of the Branford Community Foundation Board of Directors. That same year, Stephanie helped BCF move to another level when she and her husband, Leonard, established a permanent legacy fund designated to support BCF’s operating costs.

“All donations, in every sector, are very important to us,” says Stephanie. “There are people who have established designated scholarships in their name or in a family member’s name. Others have given to environmental causes, to support music education and performance, to help kids, to give to those causes that they really care about.”

“My strong belief is that we need to have a professional staff,” she adds. “The Branford and Guilford Foundations joined forces to hire professional staff and create a common ‘back office’ in 2015. Our fund supports technology and administration and enables this professional back office to continue.”

Stephanie talks candidly about the fact that this kind of fund is not always popular. “No one likes to give to operating costs. They usually like to donate to a cause they feel comfortable with or in which they believe passionately. But, in order to move forward and increase the impact of the Foundation, we need professional help and obviously the only way to make that happen is to pay for it.”

In creating the Farber Fund, started with a $10,000 donation, the Farber’s have shown how deeply they feel about the work being done by BCF. “We believe strongly in the Branford Community Foundation,” she says. She is humbled to see the work the Board of Directors has done in the community. The Board has three major goals: to ensure that BCF has sufficient management and governance infrastructure to support its growth; to increase community awareness of the BCF; and to grow the Foundation’s permanent endowment.

Stephanie and Len Farber have firmly planted roots in a community they have lived in for 35 years. “We are very involved and love this community, in part because it is a very diverse community,” she says. “We appreciate the fact that we have folks from every income level living in town, that we have become more ethnically diverse, and that Branford is a thriving community.”

Stephanie stresses that, as the Foundation grows, it is able to support diverse aspects of the community. This year it provided grants for the arts, for English as a Second Language, Make-A-Wish, the Branford Community Television’s “Tour de Branford 2016,” and the Community Dining Room, to name a few.

“We’re helping organizations that are helping others,” she says. “We’re reaching out in different ways than we were able to before.”

The Foundation’s shift from a volunteer run organization to one that is professionally managed and administered is evident in all the ways it has grown. “I feel very, very proud of what we’ve done and the fact that our endowment has grown,” says Stephanie. “We have reached another, higher level and now we need our “back office” to help us accomplish the things we’re fully capable of doing. We have been getting many more grant requests than we’ve every gotten before, we’re giving out more money than we’ve even give out before.”

Farber directly relates this growth in the Foundation in large part to having a professional staff. “A lot of our growth is due to have professional staff who have gotten our name out to the community, who are capable of responding quickly to things that come up that we, when we were a totally voluntary Board, just weren’t able to do, no matter how dedicated each Board member was.”